Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Big books

Dante Alighieri

I'm starting a list of "big" books. The books that I haven't read, but kind of bump into all the time in the books I have. Here's where I'm starting:

Aristotle's Poetics
Plato's Republic
Augustine's The City of God
Dante's Divine Comedy
Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion
Milton's Paradise Lost

My modest aim is to finish at least one this year.

Incidentally, I also imagine these popping up in our future learning together as a family (aka homeschooling), and I want to give myself a head start.

Any to add?

Translations to recommend?


  1. I'm rather fond of the Dorothy Sayers translation of the Divine Comedy, starting with this.

  2. Hi I'm Hannah Muzzy's mother-in-law. I agree about the Sayers translation of Dante. Also, if you read Paradise Lost, don't miss A Preface to Paradise Lost by C.S. Lewis.

    Your reading list is inspiring. Since I started teaching history, I don't read anything anymore except what I need to write lessons. sad.

  3. I third the Sayers recommendation! It's brilliant.

    I might add Lex, Rex by Samuel Rutherford.

    Oh, by the way, I love what you've done with the place!

  4. Yes, I'll read the Sayers translation, though I confess I've been tempted by the Longfellow one...

    I've tried reading Paradise Lost a few times unsuccessfully - hopefully understanding a bit more about its metre (and perhaps the Lewis intro?) will help!

    Oooh, Lex, Rex. Do I need a legal mind? Sadly lacking, I fear.

    1. I poked through the Longfellow translation a while ago (when I was trying to locate the 'here pity, or else piety, must die' quote) and honestly...I think Sayers is better.

      I've also only struggled through part of Paradise Lost a couple of times. Once was for university and they mentioned a theory that it's somehow meant to be monolithically boring? It was his Unitarianism that put me off. XP

      Spenser and Burke, I highly approve of! And highly recommend a) the Librivox recording of Book 1, of which one of the readers is utterly wonderful (he rolls the rich language around his mouth in the most amazing way); b) "Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves" by Roy Maynard and "The Elfin Knight" by Toby Sumpter--Books 1 and 2 edited with a very light hand, with hilarious footnotes; c) St George and the Dragon illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, which you already have ;).

      Lex Rex is a very chewy work, but you won't need special legal knowledge to understand it. Just a limber mind. It was, after all, written for the man in the street (which shows just how nimble-minded the man in the street was at that time).

  5. I should add:

    Spenser's "The Faerie Queen"
    Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France"